The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation

Dave Kendal, Ben J. Zeeman, Karen Ikin, Ian Lunt, Mark McDonnell, Alison Farrar, Lilian M. Pearce, John W. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been much debate about the effectiveness of different sized reserves for nature conservation. However, in human-dominated landscapes such as cities, conservation reserve systems are, by necessity, often determined without using conservation planning principles. This can result in reserve systems that are small, fragmented and disconnected. In this study, we conducted a floristic survey of 68 urban grassland conservation reserves to assess how reserves of different areas contribute to species conservation. Species accumulation curves, species-area relationships, and proportion of native cover were explored. We found that 87% of all native plant species were found in small reserves< 10 ha in size, more small reserves contained a greater number of species than few large reserves of a comparable area, and cover of native species in small reserves was no different than cover in large reserves. However, large reserves harboured more uncommon species than smaller reserves. This research has several important implications for conservation planning and design, highlighting that both small and large reserves can help to conserve native plant species in urban areas. However, a preference for large reserves over small ones is embedded in much conservation planning and management. There is a danger that a normative belief that large reserves are ‘good’ and small reserves are ‘bad’ has become entrenched in conservation thinking. While the theory and evidence showing the conservation benefits of large reserves over small reserves for some organisms is clear, in some cases, small reserves can make a substantial and genuine contribution to conservation outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume213
Issue numberA
Early online dateJul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

Fingerprint

conservation plants
planning
conservation planning
conservation areas
natural resources conservation
urban areas
indigenous species
grasslands
species-area relationship
species conservation
conservation management
nature conservation
floristics
native species
urban area
grassland

Cite this

Kendal, D., Zeeman, B. J., Ikin, K., Lunt, I., McDonnell, M., Farrar, A., ... Morgan, J. W. (2017). The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation. Biological Conservation, 213(A), 146-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.007
Kendal, Dave ; Zeeman, Ben J. ; Ikin, Karen ; Lunt, Ian ; McDonnell, Mark ; Farrar, Alison ; Pearce, Lilian M. ; Morgan, John W. / The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation. In: Biological Conservation. 2017 ; Vol. 213, No. A. pp. 146-153.
@article{d473df63dd624185b02bb8c2444a7544,
title = "The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation",
abstract = "There has been much debate about the effectiveness of different sized reserves for nature conservation. However, in human-dominated landscapes such as cities, conservation reserve systems are, by necessity, often determined without using conservation planning principles. This can result in reserve systems that are small, fragmented and disconnected. In this study, we conducted a floristic survey of 68 urban grassland conservation reserves to assess how reserves of different areas contribute to species conservation. Species accumulation curves, species-area relationships, and proportion of native cover were explored. We found that 87{\%} of all native plant species were found in small reserves< 10 ha in size, more small reserves contained a greater number of species than few large reserves of a comparable area, and cover of native species in small reserves was no different than cover in large reserves. However, large reserves harboured more uncommon species than smaller reserves. This research has several important implications for conservation planning and design, highlighting that both small and large reserves can help to conserve native plant species in urban areas. However, a preference for large reserves over small ones is embedded in much conservation planning and management. There is a danger that a normative belief that large reserves are ‘good’ and small reserves are ‘bad’ has become entrenched in conservation thinking. While the theory and evidence showing the conservation benefits of large reserves over small reserves for some organisms is clear, in some cases, small reserves can make a substantial and genuine contribution to conservation outcomes.",
keywords = "SLOSS, Grassland, reserve size, normative beliefs, species-area relationships",
author = "Dave Kendal and Zeeman, {Ben J.} and Karen Ikin and Ian Lunt and Mark McDonnell and Alison Farrar and Pearce, {Lilian M.} and Morgan, {John W.}",
year = "2017",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.007",
language = "English",
volume = "213",
pages = "146--153",
journal = "Biological Conservation",
issn = "0006-3207",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",
number = "A",

}

Kendal, D, Zeeman, BJ, Ikin, K, Lunt, I, McDonnell, M, Farrar, A, Pearce, LM & Morgan, JW 2017, 'The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation', Biological Conservation, vol. 213, no. A, pp. 146-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.007

The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation. / Kendal, Dave; Zeeman, Ben J.; Ikin, Karen; Lunt, Ian; McDonnell, Mark; Farrar, Alison; Pearce, Lilian M.; Morgan, John W.

In: Biological Conservation, Vol. 213, No. A, 09.2017, p. 146-153.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The importance of small urban reserves for plant conservation

AU - Kendal, Dave

AU - Zeeman, Ben J.

AU - Ikin, Karen

AU - Lunt, Ian

AU - McDonnell, Mark

AU - Farrar, Alison

AU - Pearce, Lilian M.

AU - Morgan, John W.

PY - 2017/9

Y1 - 2017/9

N2 - There has been much debate about the effectiveness of different sized reserves for nature conservation. However, in human-dominated landscapes such as cities, conservation reserve systems are, by necessity, often determined without using conservation planning principles. This can result in reserve systems that are small, fragmented and disconnected. In this study, we conducted a floristic survey of 68 urban grassland conservation reserves to assess how reserves of different areas contribute to species conservation. Species accumulation curves, species-area relationships, and proportion of native cover were explored. We found that 87% of all native plant species were found in small reserves< 10 ha in size, more small reserves contained a greater number of species than few large reserves of a comparable area, and cover of native species in small reserves was no different than cover in large reserves. However, large reserves harboured more uncommon species than smaller reserves. This research has several important implications for conservation planning and design, highlighting that both small and large reserves can help to conserve native plant species in urban areas. However, a preference for large reserves over small ones is embedded in much conservation planning and management. There is a danger that a normative belief that large reserves are ‘good’ and small reserves are ‘bad’ has become entrenched in conservation thinking. While the theory and evidence showing the conservation benefits of large reserves over small reserves for some organisms is clear, in some cases, small reserves can make a substantial and genuine contribution to conservation outcomes.

AB - There has been much debate about the effectiveness of different sized reserves for nature conservation. However, in human-dominated landscapes such as cities, conservation reserve systems are, by necessity, often determined without using conservation planning principles. This can result in reserve systems that are small, fragmented and disconnected. In this study, we conducted a floristic survey of 68 urban grassland conservation reserves to assess how reserves of different areas contribute to species conservation. Species accumulation curves, species-area relationships, and proportion of native cover were explored. We found that 87% of all native plant species were found in small reserves< 10 ha in size, more small reserves contained a greater number of species than few large reserves of a comparable area, and cover of native species in small reserves was no different than cover in large reserves. However, large reserves harboured more uncommon species than smaller reserves. This research has several important implications for conservation planning and design, highlighting that both small and large reserves can help to conserve native plant species in urban areas. However, a preference for large reserves over small ones is embedded in much conservation planning and management. There is a danger that a normative belief that large reserves are ‘good’ and small reserves are ‘bad’ has become entrenched in conservation thinking. While the theory and evidence showing the conservation benefits of large reserves over small reserves for some organisms is clear, in some cases, small reserves can make a substantial and genuine contribution to conservation outcomes.

KW - SLOSS

KW - Grassland

KW - reserve size

KW - normative beliefs

KW - species-area relationships

U2 - 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.007

DO - 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.007

M3 - Article

VL - 213

SP - 146

EP - 153

JO - Biological Conservation

JF - Biological Conservation

SN - 0006-3207

IS - A

ER -